„He was not an easy subordinate” (Józef Czapski about Władysław Anders)
A barefoot army
In his memoir, ‘Bez ostatniego rozdziału’ (published in English as ‘An Army in Exile’), Anders recalls his first visit to the camp in the village Totskoye, where the 6th Infantry Division was being formed: ‘For the first time in my life, and I hope the last, I took the salute of a march-past of soldiers without boots. They had insisted upon it. They wanted to show the Bolsheviks that even in their bare feet they could bear themselves like soldiers on their first march towards Poland.’ He also mentions malnutrition, lice and widespread disease.
The movie Children of Isfahan (Polish History Museum) about the reunion of the children evacuated with Anders Army.
The capture of Monte Cassino was not the end of the battle. Immediately afterwards the 2nd Corps made an assault on Piedimonte. Fighting continued in the surrounding hills.
Waiting for a third world war
On 29 September 1945 the 2nd Corps numbered 104,996 soldiers. Its commander hoped they would constitute a force capable of reinforcing Poland’s political situation, as well as her military strength in the case of armed conflict between the Soviet Union and the West. The final words of his memoirs testify to this hope: ‘At the time of finishing this book the train of events that began with the German aggression against Poland on September 1, 1939, has not been ended but only interrupted. For the other Allied nations the war finished in 1945 with victory. Not so for Poland. We are now living in the expectation of the last chapter of this great historic upheaval. We believe... and expect.’
Author: Pawel Koziol, PhD
Consultant: Grzegorz Rutkowski
Translation into English: Marta Umińska
Review: Professor Zbigniew Wawer
Photographs from Imperial War Museums Collections used according to IMW Non Commercial License